Andrew Gillum concedes Florida governor's race to Ron DeSantis

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida, conceded to his Republican opponent, forme...

Posted: Nov 19, 2018 2:48 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 2:48 AM

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida, conceded to his Republican opponent, former Rep. Ron DeSantis, on Saturday, ending a protracted fight that saw the Tallahassee mayor take back his Election Day concession during a statewide recount.

The concession ended Gillum's first bid for statewide office in Florida, but the run -- despite his loss -- vaulted the 39-year old politician into the upper echelons of Democratic politics.

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"R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida," Gillum said in a Facebook video in which he appeared alongside his wife. "This has been the journey of our lives."

DeSantis responded to Gillum's concession with a call for unity.

"This was a hard-fought campaign," he wrote on Twitter. "Now it's time to bring Florida together."

The reality, however, is that the race between DeSantis and Gillum was anything but unifying. The contest was a heated affair that largely reflected the broader national tensions over race and class in the Trump era.

Those issues, which were already bubbling up throughout the primary, were escalated by DeSantis when he went on Fox News a day after the primary to warn Florida voters not to "monkey this up" by electing Gillum. DeSantis denied there was any racial innuendo in his remark, but race -- and allegations that DeSantis was using it against his opponent -- were never far off during the 10-week general election sprint.

They hit a boiling point during the pair's second and final debate. DeSantis loudly objected to suggestions he was in cahoots with far-right figures or that his ties -- unwitting, he said -- to white supremacists should be held against him.

"Now, I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist," Gillum said in response. "I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist."

If that line earned Gillum viral praise and national recognition, his indirect connections to an FBI investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee was a drag on his campaign, which at times struggled to explain Gillum's relationship with a former lobbyist and friend and his run-ins with an undercover federal agent. Gillum maintained throughout the campaign that the FBI told him he was not a target of the probe, which could continue to dog him in the coming months or years.

DeSantis has largely flown under the radar since Election Day. The conservative lawmaker began to put together a gubernatorial transition shortly after Election Day despite the ongoing recount.

Gillum, after conceding the race on Election Night, took back his concession as late-counted ballots brought the race within just over 33,000 votes.

"I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote," he said, after Florida election officials ordered a recount in three statewide contests.

Gillum's race all but ended on Thursday, however, when the machine portion of the recount ended and DeSantis lost only one vote on the Tallahassee mayor. Because Gillum's race did not fall within the .25% standard that automatically triggers a manual recount, there was nowhere near the number of votes need for Gillum to close the gap.

The state's Senate race, between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and Florida's race for agriculture commissioner did fall within that margin and are currently in the midst of a hand recount.

Gillum's fight during the recount, however, became bigger than just winning the race. He and other Democrats repeatedly said they were sticking with the campaign until all legally cast votes were counted. Lawyers for Democratic interests, including Nelson's campaign, looked to expand the number of available votes in federal court by overturning a series of Florida election laws, but those efforts largely failed.

Gillum or his campaign were not party to any of those suits, but he could have stood to benefit from them.

Gillum acknowledged this fight in his concession video.

"This was not just about an election cycle, this was about creating the kind of change in this state that really allows for the voices of everyday people to show up against in our government," Gillum said. "We know that this fight continues."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7751171
DeSoto663677
Harrison481181
Jackson431978
Rankin380886
Madison371792
Lee341379
Forrest295177
Jones283182
Washington251497
Lafayette241742
Lauderdale2344130
Lamar214938
Bolivar198075
Oktibbeha194654
Neshoba1806111
Lowndes173962
Panola165136
Leflore160086
Sunflower157449
Warren152154
Monroe144872
Pontotoc143519
Pike136455
Lincoln134854
Copiah134636
Marshall132626
Scott123229
Coahoma123136
Grenada120137
Simpson118148
Yazoo117233
Union113925
Holmes113260
Tate112739
Leake112239
Itawamba109024
Pearl River108256
Adams104342
Prentiss101619
Wayne98521
Alcorn95512
George93517
Marion93242
Covington91625
Tippah85120
Newton84227
Chickasaw82024
Tallahatchie81825
Winston81521
Tishomingo79040
Hancock76927
Attala76525
Clarke71448
Clay67221
Jasper66616
Walthall63327
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith58116
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence49514
Yalobusha48414
Perry48022
Carroll46012
Greene45317
Stone45014
Amite41513
Quitman4136
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39411
Webster36513
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31815
Benton3054
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26310
Franklin2303
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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